Ben Wittes Gets Stung by the Trump Effect

WaPo has a report that DHS disseminated intelligence reports discussing tweets about leaked unclassified materials describing that DHS knows fuckall about the protests in Portland.

Over the past week, the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis has disseminated three Open Source Intelligence Reports to federal law enforcement agencies and others, summarizing tweets written by two journalists — a reporter for theNew York Times and the editor in chief of the blog Lawfare — and noting they had published leaked, unclassified documents about DHS operations in Portland. The intelligence reports, obtained by The Washington Post, include written descriptions and images of the tweets and the number of times they had been liked or retweeted by others.

After The Post published a story online Thursday evening detailing the department’s practices, the acting homeland security secretary, Chad Wolf, ordered the intelligence office to stop collecting information on journalists and announced an investigation into the matter.

The WaPo specifically notes that normally this kind of thing only happens with terrorism and other violent actors.

Some of the leaked DHS documents the journalists posted and wrote about revealed shortcomings in the department’s understanding of the nature of the protests in Portland, as well as techniques that intelligence analysts have used. A memo by the department’s top intelligence official, which was tweeted by the editor of Lawfare, says personnel relied on “FINTEL,” an acronym for financial intelligence, as well as finished intelligence “Baseball cards” of arrested protesters to try to understand their motivations and plans. Historically, military and intelligence officials have used such cards for biographical dossiers of suspected terrorists, including those targeted in lethal drone strikes.

The DHS intelligence reports, which are unclassified, are traditionally used for sharing the department’s analysis with federal law enforcement agencies, state and local officials, and some foreign governments. They are not intended to disseminate information about American citizens who have no connection to terrorists or other violent actors and who are engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment, current and former officials said.

The tweets were sent by Ben Wittes and NYT’s Mike Baker.

Wittes wrote a long thread in response, suggesting he may take further action, and complaining, in particular, that discussion of his tweets was disseminated as intelligence reporting.

Welcome to the Trump Effect, Ben.

I have long argued that the President created something I call the Trump Effect, which makes things that the US has long done — like abusive treatment of undocumented immigrants, counterproductive use of violence overseas, and excessive intelligence collection — visible to people like mainstream voters and some kinds of national security commentators.

Here, Wittes is specifically complaining about policies he and Lawfare have, in the past, applauded, a special category of intelligence collection — even collection of speech otherwise protected under the First Amendment — targeted at those believed to pose a unique threat to national security. I’ve tangled with Lawfare in the past over whether such policies disproportionately constrain Muslim speech. And I noted — in response to a Pollyannish prediction from Wittes that Trump wouldn’t be that bad in part because this kind of intelligence is focused primarily overseas that, no, it had already been deployed against Black Lives Matter, precisely the movement it is currently being deployed against.

Consider: One of the most inflated cases of terrorism in recent decades was Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a guy whose father asked the FBI for help because the father worried that the son was being radicalized. Rather than helping, the FBI targeted Mohamud — who was in contact with AQAP propagandist Samir Khan — in a sting. After over a year (probably more than a year), they got the teenager to press a button he thought would detonate a bomb that targeted Pioneer Square in Portland, the site of the historic courthouse. During his prosecution, the FBI wiretapped several lawyers representing Mohamud. The FBI almost  certainly cultivated him after doing back door searches targeting Samir Khan and others. Mohamud, now 28, still has 16 years left on his 30 year sentence, assuming time off for good behavior.

I’m not saying Mohamud, after being radicalized (partly by FBI informants and undercover officers) posed no danger. But the danger and the special authorities used against him were all premised on his intent to do damage to the historic courthouse a few blocks aware from the Federal Courthouse, the very same rationale Billy Barr has repeatedly cited for sending Federal officers to incite more violence in Portland. Whatever you want to call the damage done by a handful of protestors in Portland, it is real damage, unlike what Mohamud got incited by Federal officers to commit.

And using the framework that Lawfare has largely applauded, Trump’s national security establishment has now targeted the First Amendment activities of those deemed to exist in a network, however diffuse, that also includes those “supporting” violence in Portland.

Once a majority of the country came to support Black Lives Matter, a majority of the country came to exist within a diffuse network that has long been treated using a similar framework used against terrorism.

Including Ben Wittes.

None of this makes what DHS has done right. And, because Wittes and the NYT are public figures with access to powerful lawyers (unlike the great majority of journalists covering Portland’s stand-off), Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf reversed course.

But the response should not just be a complaint about how Trump and Barr have treated protestors and journalists and lawyers using the same approach that Wittes long applauded to be used with terrorists, one that long ago dispensed with the need to have a real nexus overseas. It should also be an urgent call to reexamine how we have investigated Muslims in the name of terrorism, particularly as the FBI continues to have such success investigating white supremacist terrorism without using this framework.

Federal intelligence targeting networks — especially when wielded by those who don’t understand the networks they’re looking at — will always impinge on First Amendment activities. It just so happens that now it is impinging on the First Amendment activities of those who used to applaud such approaches.

Update: I’ve been getting the two courthouses in Portland confused all morning. Hopefully I’ve fixed it now.

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66 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    Ben was on Morning Joe this morning talking about this. He will, of course, be fine, as will Baker. But you hit the real point, other journalists might not would be. And the irony of targeting a historic champion of the security state is unavoidable. I’ll bet even Ben recognizes that.

  2. Vicks says:

    “DHS knows fuckall about the protests in Portland.”
    My mind is churning because obviously these are the people who are also responsible for keeping Americans safe from REAL terrorists.
    Now I have to decide whether I want to believe that DHS really doesn’t have the leadership and staff with the skills sets to figure out what is going on in Portland, OR they do the skills but are playing stupid and abusing their power to exploit the situation for Trump.
    Reading DHS’s press release from yesterday adds a third choice;
    It’s both.
    It’s https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/07/30/portland-riots-read-out-july-30

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      DHS’s short history seems to be long on mediocrity and short on oversight. It was always a hodgepodge of “Where do we put this?” But a unifying rationale for its formation, which the MSM rarely brings up, is that it was a Bush/Cheney move to gut federal employee unions. That’s the most charitable part of its collective make-up.

      I doubt whether it has the skills to make accurate assessments. But it is chock full of nuts, waiting to use all that equipment and testosterone on “the other.” It might as well put the Confederate flag on its masthead.

        • Eureka says:

          Oh, to be forced to break half the joke wall because can’t uncritically share one of these then-ubiquitous ads without noting the racism and/or sexism, but whatevs (second one has the jingle). Good grief Madge, we’re soaking in it.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          When I can get it, I prefer the growing handful of small roasters, whose coffee is excellent. Never touch the stuff named after the first mate of the Pequod.

          • vvv says:

            I have spent 20 years loathing the stuff, and then my daughter (who in the last cuppla on months took up a job in a residential medical facility for young women with SI and HI and eating and other disorders) was asst mngr at … Pequod’s 1st mate’s … for about a year. I still have mebbe 10lbs of various whole bean left and used with my grinder each AM with a simple drip (not super-hot pressurized) brewer – I am in covfefe heaven. The secret is not to cook it/keep it so hot.

            But when it’s done (6 months?), I’ll likely go back to Papa Nichol’s, one of the better here in Chi (but lacking a good, strong Italian roast) …

          • Eureka says:

            Same, same (gladly abstain). Beans from that famed, punctual doughnut place are a good staple (though, as spouse would entreat, NOT the same-branded ones sold in grocery stores: different beans/process).

            vvv: LOL, look at you showing off the proper spelling of covfefe. Gaslit by the spellchecker, I had run out of asterisks to give.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It’s as if Trump and Barr have resurrected J. Edgar Hoover’s demon and installed him under the Resolute Desk. If brought to Trump’s attention, he would think COINTELPRO was another miracle cure for SARS-Cov-2.

    Thanks for connecting pollyannish with Wittes. It fits perfectly. I hope his and Baker’s responses are not just a variation on NIMBY.

    • BobCon says:

      The obsession of domestic intelligence gathering with Muslims certainly goes back to Hoover. He was overwhelmed with inventing ways to connect dots between Malcolm X, the broader civil rights movement, the Soviets and African anticolonialists. There were a few dots, especially overseas, but just like post 9/11, the obsession critically interfered with getting a good understanding of the real issues.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If the dots weren’t there, the American IC just assumed it was the work of Soviet propagandists, which was fine with their political masters. They drew no distinction between anticolonialism – which made things harder and more expensive for American corporations – and anti-Americanism. Being against economic exploitation and de facto slavery, so American thinking went, must have come from Soviet propaganda. Indigenous people couldn’t possibly have observed how that worked for themselves.

      The CIA had authority, for example, to assassinate Patrice Lmumba in the Congo; the Belgian secret service just got to him first. The Brits were happy they didn’t have to do it, but they would have.

        • Garth Katner says:

          Well according to The Guardian (the 6th footnote in the Wikipedia entry cited):
          “In 2002, Belgium formally apologised for its role overseeing the assassination of Lumumba, the Congolese independence leader and new republic’s first prime minister.”

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          No. The wiki entry you cite is a sanitized version, which is internally inconsistent. It describes, for example, Belgium’s claimed non-involvement in Lumumba’s death. A few sentences later comes the statement that Belgium’s government had issued written orders “requesting” Lumumba’s assassination.

          More neutral sources say the three firing squads assigned to kill Lumumba were under de facto Belgian supervision. It was a Belgian officer who led a small group to dig up the bodies from a hastily dug grave, carve them up, dissolve them in acid, and burn the remains.

          A thorough study of Lumumba’s assassination is Ludo de Witte. 1999. The Assassination of Lumumba. (Wiki gets the original publication date wrong.) Reaction to his book added to George Floyd-like protests, demanding that Belgium reconsider its long association with the Congo. Those had begun a year earlier, following the 1998 publication of Adam Hochschild’s, King’s Leopold’s Ghost.

          The CIA, under Eisenhower and Dulles, had also received approval to assassinate Lumumba, as had MI-6. But the Belgians had more resources on the ground and took the lead. Its secret service continued to operate there after independence, and it continued to have substantial control over the Congolese military, especially its small officer corps. Mobutu was the CIA’s hand-picked successor to the less malleable Lumumba.

          Lumumba’s assassination took place in Kantanga because it was more remote and foreign interests held sway there. It bordered British colonial territories to the southeast and, more importantly, it held and still holds the bulk of the Congo’s mineral reserves, some of them unique. US, Belgian, and British corporate interests still use it as their principal cut-out in exercising control over the failed state that they have ensured stays failed.

          • anaphoristand says:

            This sort of thing is probably my favorite aspect of the community here. It’s been some time since my few semester college fixation on African colonial/post-colonial history & literature, but after watching the excellent Fanon-infused cinematic adaptation of JC Lee’s “Luce” tonight on Hulu (and after opening the day with breakfast tears for Morgan Freeman’s read of the John Lewis essay), thanks muchly for this excellent nightcap.

          • Ewan says:

            Thanks! I only knew of Patrice Lumumba because of the university in Moscow.

            On the ressources, I thought actually it had largely moved to Russian hands recently — no connection to the university, which dates from a different era, of course. But again I could be mistaken.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        There’s a considerable literature on this topic, owing to various anniversaries having come and gone, along with a number of foreign-controlled dictators, notably Mobutu in 1997. Three short articles provide a good summary.

        One is by Adam Hochschild, An Assassination’s Long Shadow, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Lumumba’s death. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/17/opinion/17hochschild.html

        Another is by Scott Shane, on the passing in 2008 of the CIA officer assigned in 1960 to kill Lumumba, Lawrence R. Devlin. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/12/washington/12devlin.html

        The third is by Congolese writer, George Nzongola-Ntalaja, also on the 50th anniversary of Lumumba’s death. Patrice Lumumba: the most important assassination of the 20th century. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/jan/17/patrice-lumumba-50th-anniversary-assassination

        That assessment is by Ludo de Witte, but it is Nzongola-Ntalaja who describes the murder as Congo’s “original sin.” De Witte describes it as the linchpin that enabled western industrial powers – notably, the US, France, Britain, and Belgium – to impose neocolonial control over African states and their vast mineral and agricultural resources.

        In addition, the killing of Lumumba deprived Congo and Africa of its Fidel Castro, and discouraged independence-minded successors from attempting to replace him. It deprived indigenous populations of their own wealth, and made a handful of military dictators fabulously wealth.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A variation on the limerick about the smile ending up on the face of the tiger. I hope Ben enjoyed his ride.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      This OpEd, taken in combination with the one written by Steven Calabresi in the NYT yesterday about Trump deserving to be impeached over his suggestion that the election be delayed, begins to look like the rats are starting to seek alternate modes of transportation than the Trump Titanic.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          I know,right ? What a concept ! I wonder what he is going to think about it when some of his pet appointees to the bench start facing it.

      • Vicks says:

        I had a conversation with a 20 something the other day who (using Reddit as his source) was convinced that Trump finally crossed the line for many of his followers because of this moronic comment about delaying the election.
        IMHO they have been desperate for a way out of the mess they have attached themselves to.
        After ignoring every outrageous thing Trump has ACTUALLY done, someone like Calabresi choosing a moronic comment like this to finally shake his finger at Trump and threaten to jump off the bandwagon is just as transparent.

        • Rayne says:

          It’s not just that some right-wingers needed a touchstone they could point to as a reason for dumping Trump.

          It’s that Trump’s threats to election infrastructure are now a serious risk to jettisoning Trump to save the GOP. Screwing with mail delivery means elderly who vote conservative but use absentee ballots, who may not wish to physically go to the polls during a pandemic, may not vote at all and they can’t have that or risk losing even more than the presidency.

          • vicks says:

            Just saying, not peep from his fair weather friends when, back in May, Trump threatened to withhold federal funds from states that expanded thier mail in ballot programs, or any of the times he actually did violate the constitution.
            I’m sure others have noticed that many of his mouth pieces have switched from claiming “mail in ballots equal a fraudulent election ” to “counting mail-in ballots is SO hard” so it looks like they got the memo.

  4. WilliamOckham says:

    The irony is killing me here. Five years ago, I got into a Twitter argument with Wittes over my contention that his argument in favor of drone strikes meant that he was arguing that the USG could kill me or him for that matter if either of us set foot outside the U.S. Wittes’ faith in the National Security state was unshakeable. I wonder how that’s working out for him.

    • rosalind says:

      sorry, can’t hear you over the sound of the Predator drone circling overhead. but not to worry, DHS pinky-swears it’s unarmed.

      • sand says:

        The fact that the U.S. calls its drones Predators and Reapers and China calls its AI video surveillance system Skynet seems like it fits in with the Leopards Eating People’s Faces theme above.

        If Skynet were sentient by now it might be thinking, “Should I have the U.S. drones strike before 11/3 or after?Hmm. Give me a few milliseconds to game out some scenarios. How in the world have these ugly bags of mostly water been the dominant species for so long?”

        I’m going to find some good sci-fi for the weekend.

        • anaphoristand says:

          If aiming toward literature, Octavia Butler’s never the wrong answer. If visual, the recent run of Alex Garland productions’s highly worthwhile.

        • Yargelsnogger says:

          The Red by Linda Nagata. It’s both awseome and topical.

          “Lieutenant James Shelley commands a high-tech squad of soldiers in a rural district within the African Sahel. They hunt insurgents each night on a harrowing patrol, guided by three simple goals: protect civilians, kill the enemy, and stay alive—because in a for-profit war manufactured by the defense industry there can be no cause worth dying for.”

        • P J Evans says:

          There’s a lot of Good Stuff out there, especially by women.
          (For comfort, I’ll read “The Goblin Emperor” by Addison.)

        • vvv says:

          I just finished *The Three Body Problem*, by Liu Cixin. The first of a trilogy, its starts slow, gets much better such that I look forward to the other two. Physics, 11 dimensions, gaming, history, philosophy, translated from Chinese but retains a distinct alien (in the sense of Chinese, I think) style and sensibility.
          But anything by Scalzi is always a good bet – try The Old Man War series, in order, his re-write of *Do Androisds dream of electric Sheep*, or for a funy one, *Red shirts*.

  5. Sam Penrose says:

    “because Wittes and the NYT are public figures with access to powerful lawyers (unlike the great majority of journalists covering Portland’s stand-off)”

    Time to update Anatole France: “the law, in its majestic equality, permits rich and poor alike to call the receptionists of the 400 attorneys in the world who can actually protect them from an unfair conviction, to request a meeting, and to commit to pay them $700 an hour with a 150 hour minimum.”

  6. Dave says:

    Our imperial tactics are finally being turned on white people at home.

     

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Dave” or “David.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      It’d be nice if white people who still retain the majority of political power finally did something about eliminating these imperial tactics used against ALL Americans.

      I mean, we did fight a revolution to eliminate imperial tactics 244 years ago. You’d think by now the work would be finished.

      • Stacey says:

        At the end of the day, the Golden Rule is not “treat others as you WISH to be treated”, but rather, “you WILL be treated by others as YOU HAVE treated THEM”, if you wait long enough.

        I do not mean for this to be an “anti-American” sentiment, but the list of things that Trump is bringing home to us now that the world might say under their breath, “serves ’em right!” is sort of long. And I don’t mean that we should respond to it with tolerance so that it may continue. When one finds oneself being visited by one’s own Karma, the appropriate response is always one of “Truth and Reconciliation” such that we genuinely say, “we recognize that we did exactly this to others (spell it out) for however long; we understand that, in the experiencing of it ourselves, it’s hurtful/wrong/illegal/immoral, etc. we see that now; and how can we rectify what we did to others through these means FIRST, and then we have some moral authority to ask for whatever help we may need in getting it to stop being done TO us by outsiders or even the moral recognition to demand that we stop doing it to ourselves, or elements of ourselves. Otherwise, rinse and repeat until such time as we work though that sequence.

        There is nothing more healing to a country than coming to terms with their own shadow and bringing it into the light. I honestly think that part of Trump’s gift to us as a country was to be the chelating agent that would drudge these things up for us to see from the other side.

        Humans do not learn well what they’ve done wrong by swinging the bat, but by feeling the bat being swung at them!

        • Rayne says:

          I hear you — the fruits of bullshit foreign policy have come back hard. But let’s not kid ourselves about the effect on global politics this massive blowback is having.

          Which country/countries provide/s the necessary leadership for other liberal democracies? Which have the resources to intervene should a liberal democracy ask for assistance?

  7. What Constitution? says:

    I have to say, the idea that Chad Wolf — a non-confirmed temporary appointee from Trump, who has no relevant experience whatsoever save blind sycophancy to Trump — would on his own dare to step up to “object/stop” surveillance on reporters that Trump regularly refers to in bulk as “Enemies of the State” is pretty rich. Probably went down like this scene out of Blazing Saddles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTmfwklFM-M

    It should take five or ten minutes for somebody on the inside to leak either the copy of Wolf’s own memo instructing this surveillance take place or else at least a copy of the internal order with Wolf as a ”cc”.

    As for Mr. Wittes being “shocked, shocked” by apparent abuse of these erstwhile structurally restricted practices and procedures, it reminds me of the day I pretty much stopped reading Lawfare: Mr. Wittes had written a piece about a law, people were criticizing his legal arguments as published in his own site, Lawfare; and his defense started out with him, the owner, editor and operator of Lawfare, offering “I’m not a lawyer.” So he’s got that going for him, I guess (he could have gone to law school since then, I don’t know).

    It is, indeed, indefensible for the Feds to be targeting journalists like this, of course. But I’m just hoping the rest of the story of how this came about comes out shortly, too. Maybe with the notes of Jared dumping national testing by writing “nothing for Blue States” in the margin.

  8. Rugger9 says:

    What would happen if someone in, say, NY or Chicago told “Acting” DHS Secretary Wolf that some “request” or “order” will not be honored since his term expired seven weeks ago?

    That’s what needs to happen now.

  9. viget says:

    Is it possible, maybe, that the IC has finally realized that “terrorism” is really just a form of asymmetrical warfare used by criminal organizations and their collaborating nation-state partners to stymie Federal law enforcement from shutting down such networks, and distract them from anti-corruption missions? Like how gang violence prevents local law enforcement from being able to go after the kingpins in the drug cartels?

    Perhaps now, they have dedicated their resources to rooting out the terrorist networks that truly are meant to incite violence and bring out the DHS goon squads as a pretense to curtailing our First amendment freedoms and interfere with the forthcoming election.

    I feel like the greatest tragedy in CI/CT operations was the period from 1993-2012. Attack the WTC, focus all of the FBI’s manpower on anti-Islamic CT and away from global organized crime and money laundering (with an assist by Louie Freeh). Classic misdirection. And now we’re paying for it.

  10. RJB says:

    Entirely ready for bmaz to jump on me, but I keep wondering: What are the limits to qualified immunity, especially when it comes to people who don’t have traditional government appointments. Does it matter if they weren’t confirmed, the limit to the unconfirmed appointment has passed, they are ‘consultants’ (like some of the family members), etc. Are they exposed in any way beyond other government officials?

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    We all have our preference for whom Joe Biden should pick as his VP. But it’s not just his “personal choice.” He is choosing his and the party’s successor for 2024. There’s a lot more at stake than his comfort zone.

    The women Biden is considering would all make outstanding contributions to his Cabinet or administration, some as chief of staff or Attorney General, for example, rather than as VP. But whomever he chooses, his VP needs to balance the ticket and attract voters Joe does not. She needs energy and charisma, and the ability to help raise the money needed to win. She needs the assertiveness to help him set priorities and make them policy, and to help recover from the “weaponized chaos muppetry” of Donald Trump.

    Having ambition and working hard to be Joe’s successor IS the job. Good governance is the objective, not something to avoid after having won. The Dems and their moneyed backers need to sort out their own sexism problems, away from the media, and get down to work.

    • klynn says:

      Agree with all your points you make about VP choice.

      Speaking of VP choice, I’ve been trying to seek out solid resources that explore answering Michael Beschloss‘ pondering:
      “Mike Pence was picked and pushed by Paul Manafort. We still don’t really know why.“ (Jan 2019)

      This REALLY needs to be explored in-depth for this election.

    • HanTran says:

      I think you are describing only one well known potential running mate.
      “he chooses, his VP needs to balance the ticket and attract voters Joe does not. She needs energy and charisma, and the ability to help raise the money needed to win. She needs the assertiveness to help him set priorities and make them policy, and to help recover from the “weaponized chaos muppetry” of Donald Trump.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I’m describing the attributes I think Biden needs in his VP to win, to govern, and to succeed him. A standard approach. The debate this time round is more intense, because Biden’s VP will be a woman, might be a woman of color, might be a progressive, and should explicitly be the heir presumptive. No small amount of jockeying involved in that.

      You can mix and match the attributes as you will. Some people make fundraising and attack-dog demeanor their highest priorities, Sarah Palin with a brain. Others prefer the traditional VP, a political second-fiddle who can’t hold a candle to the boss. Those crudely attacking Kamala Harris probably think that way. Their models would be Dan Quayle and Mike Pence. Old school types might want to fudge the issue entirely, because racial, gender, and progressive changes at the top would upset their access, their donor base, and their livelihoods.

      Lastly, others might value networking above all: Biden should be considering an unusual amount of staffing, statutory, and regulatory changes. Those should include disclosure, tax, and judicial reforms. The need for popular support for victims of Covid-19 will still be there. A lot to bargain over. And that’s probably the tip of the iceberg.

  12. Rugger9 says:

    OT but it makes me wonder what the GOP is trying to hide. Are they going to keep their platform (manifesto across the pond) secret as well? After all, they already lie about their policies and bills in Congress. Could it be that DJT’s not going to get the acclamation he wants? After all, given how the DJT campaign was able to cancel GOP primaries in several states, the fix for the GOP nomination was already in. Will there be a nasty debate about who the VP pick will be?

    https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2020/aug/01/reporters-wont-see-trump-nomination/

    Also OT, it seems the first day or week of school in MS and IN already have students testing positive for COVID-19 and it’s doubtful a real quarantine can be done safely.

    • Rugger9 says:

      The short, short answer to Q1 is that the GOP needs to coordinate their foreign assistance, but we shall see.

  13. Erin McJ says:

    When I first heard this about Wittes, my response was 85 percent dismay, 15 percent schadenfreude.

  14. mospeck says:

    Old Russian bomber tactics against the American aircraft carrier, the high-value target 40 years ago, were illuminating. We war-gamed against them: 3 Bears from the N 300 mi. closing at 500 knots, trying to get to 20 for missile launch. Then 2 fake Bears from the W. Then a lone low Bear from the SSE. Back in the day those Russian Bears carried 2 megaton no-comeback nukes. We Americans had much more accurate 200 kilo tonners, but the Russians didn’t, so they had to try harder, their strategy being- if you miss, you don’t really miss. Golden Oldie tactics were to scramble the F-14 interceptors, carrier takes random turn plus or minus 10 to 30 off of 180 deg off, goes to flank speed, get the A6s with their silver bullets into the air with big extender bags of gas, and all cruisers, destroyers, support ships go to I am the carrier blip-enhance mode (the old “no, I am Spartacus,” game).
    In these days what then would be the high-valued target? Taking a wild guess it’s the 2020 election. vlad, your stooge trump seems to have embraced the traditional Russian multi-prong pretty well: take max advantage of the corona, get his crony govs to maximize its impact, limit physical polling sites, attack vote by mail, delay postal service delivery, install stooges at DNI, NSA and spook Counter Intel, dept. of homeland security stormtroopers run by sub stooges cuccinelli and wolf, fatman barr obfuscates and wrecks American confidence in JD rule of law, and of course the fox news stoogeorama.
    vlad, no doubt you give don a big long list every week in your private phone convos. Of course you promised to help him out with the facebook russia today propaganda and dezinformatsiya, and even with brand new stuff like giant ISP attacks and on the ground agents to disrupt voter lists and server chains carrying vote tallies.
    Natasha [email protected]
    Jul 31 @ChrisMurphyCT, who has seen some of the intelligence surrounding the foreign election interference efforts, said more needs to be disclosed. “If the Russians are sending agents to the U.S. to interfere in the election…there’s no reason for not making that information public.”
    But vlad, think on about if you miss. Then it’s Sanctionville*until like the cows come home, say 2036. And then, with mother russia coming into certain economic depression, you’ll have to bring back the old Soviet-style supermarkets. What would be the high-value target list for angry young Russian protesters and their pitchforks? And hypothetically speaking, what would happen if say they were being advised by Garry Kasparov? (For ex, see Nicolae Ceaușescu)
    *it’s kind of like the opposite of Margaritaville. vlad, your intel briefers have no doubt informed you about Obama’s favorite character from The Wire. I’m sure Old Joe, being advised by Obama, has also seen those great old Wire reruns (only paraphrasing Sleepy Joe’s recent comment, but he seemed to be saying that payback will be a motherfucker). You know The Wire writers from Baltimore were all about Americana, and in the finest tradition of our High Noon wild west. For ex see the one where Omar said, “If you come at the king, you best not miss”

  15. bmaz says:

    Hatfield Courthouse, the Mark Hatfield Courthouse! And it is a very fine one. It should not be subjected to physical attacks by idiots as it has been.

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